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Paul A. Potrac, Edward T. Hall, and Adam J. Nichol

This interpretive study provides original insights into the socioemotional experiences that contributed to referee attrition in English grassroots football. Data were generated using an online survey (n = 251) and in-depth interviews (n = 20) with former referees. Using complementary symbolic interactionist and relational conceptualizations of identity, social interaction, and emotional pain, the analysis addressed the participants’ interpretations of their problematic encounters with the various significant others (e.g., coaches, managers, players, spectators, and administrators) that comprised their respective social networks in grassroots football. Importantly, the participants described several emotionally painful issues related to match day environments, disciplinary proceedings, and deployment and development processes that simultaneously coexisted alongside and exacerbated one another. The findings present important implications for those individuals and governing bodies who are responsible for referee retention.

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Laura A. Gale, Ben A. Ives, Paul A. Potrac, and Lee J. Nelson

This study addressed the issue of interpersonal trust and distrust in the (sporting) workplace. Data were generated through cyclical, in-depth interviews with 12 community sports coaches. The interview transcripts were subjected to emic and etic readings, with Hardin and Cook’s theorization of (dis)trust and Goffman’s dramaturgical writings providing the primary heuristic devices. Our analysis produced three interconnected themes. These were a) how the participants’ decision to (dis)trust contextual others was based on their perceptions of encapsulated interests, b) those strategies that the participants employed to judge the trustworthiness of colleagues, and c) how the participants’ workplace bonds with coworkers differed according to their perceived trustworthiness. Importantly, this study revealed how interpersonal (dis)trust for these individuals was informed by the pursuit of various professional interests, uncertainty regarding continued employment and career progression, and was subject to ongoing strategic interaction and reflection. Based on these findings, we believe there is much to gain from the micro-level exploration of “how” and “why” sports workers seek to negotiate and manage workplace relationships.